ACTA to face European Court

Feb 24, 2012
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Karel de Gucht, the European Union’s  trade commissioner, said the European Court of Justice will review the controversial ACTA anti-counterfeiting treaty. The ratification process for the treaty will not proceed until the EU’s highest court weighs in, he said.

Critics say ACTA, designed to protect copyright holders, would effectively empower governments to silence online critics from behind the smokescreen of targeting copyright infringers. ACTA inspired protests in Warsaw, Prague, Sofia, and other capitals this month.

Insisting he’s also concerned about Internet freedom, de Gucht told a press conference this week that consulting the court is a “needed step.” He nevertheless dismissed concerns that ACTA could be exploited to restrict the use of Internet and social media.

Assuming the court rules favorably, the treaty cannot take effect without ratification by the EU parliament and all 27 members.

This week Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk did an about-face on ACTA, saying his government would not ratify the treaty despite voicing initial support in January.

Stop ACTA before we run out of space, protesters at an 11 February demonstration in Tallinn demand. Photo by Otto de Voogd/flickr.


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Transitions Online

Transitions Online (www.tol.org) is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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